“Desert Lights” is a platform that shares blogs, academic articles, and news about the rich culture, heritage and wisdom of the Middle Eastern Christian communities. We have much to learn from these communities; their wisdom ranges from the words of the desert fathers and mothers, to that of modern-day leaders who teach the core values of respecting our neighbors, even when facing animosity.
Mostly unknown before the Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East since 2011, Christians living in the region have made headlines. Much of the news is negative; churches are being destroyed, schools and libraries ransacked, an entire heritage is being wiped off the map.
As they are fleeing to the West, it is easily overlooked that these communities have much to add to our world’s heritage and to our understanding of what it means to remain faithful to one’s religion, culture and ethical principles. They teach us about the complexity of the Middle East and about interrelationships of Muslims and Christians in the region.
The name “Desert Lights,” refers to the Light of the Desert gem; a cerussite. which is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum. The brightness of a diamond fades in comparison to that of the light of a cerussite. It is a fragile stone that is sensitive to change.
To me the wisdom and heritage of Middle Eastern Christians shines brightly but it is also fragile and at risk now that its custodians are forced to resettle across the world. Among them are individuals living deeply spiritual lives of the sort we imagine to have been around many centuries ago. The unknown Mother Teresas and Thomas Mertons among them continue to do their invisible works, even when the world around them seems to be falling apart. For our own good we need to hear their stories.
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